Gender Imbalance: Absence of defence counsel for FG, AGF stalls suit
First hearing into a gender-based suit seeking to challenge the non implementation of the 35% affirmative action policy of the Federal Government of Nigeria, was stalled at the Federal High, Abuja due to absence of defence counsel. Counsel for the plaintiffs, Marshal Abubakar, disclosed that although the defendants being the President, Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice were duly served with court processes twice, have failed to show up for the proceedings.
The counsel said he had the option of praying the court to allow him adopt his processes in spite of the absence of the defendants but waived it to allow the court entertain the matter on the merit, adding that the case is not about a fierce fight between President Muhammadu Buhari and the Nigerian Women. Following absence of the defendants, Justice Okon Abang adjourned the case to February 5, 2021 for hearing.
The suit which was filed by Incorporated Trustees of Nigeria Women Trust Fund and five other female Civil Society Organizations is principally praying the court to among other things make an Order mandating the respondents to henceforth comply with the principle of equality of the sexes in all appointments in compliance with Sections 42,147 (3) and 14 (3) of the 1999 Constitution as amended and Article 19 of the African Charter of Human and People’s Rights.
Nigerian Women continue to suffer marginalization in the political space regardless of the National Gender Policy document which was formulated since 2006, a policy that demands 35 percent involvement of women in all governance processes.